Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
An oak door can last a long while when you give it proper care. Treating an oak door is one way to keep it good as new. Usually, you can do this by oiling or waxing your door. But what are the steps to treat an oak door? What oil works best with it? We've asked the experts and summed up their insight in this post.
To oil or wax an oak door, follow these basic steps:
- Ensure proper ventilation and protect areas and items that oil or wax could get on.
- Prepare the materials and clean the door.
- Apply the oil or wax onto the oak door.
- Coat it as much as needed before leaving it to dry.
Expect future applications once you finish coating the door. Oiling or waxing oak doors will preserve their quality and lessen the chances of damage, thus, extending the door's lifespan.
In treating oak doors, you have to consider what to use to get the best result. These include knowing what oil and wax options are available, what finishes you can choose from, and how often you should practice maintenance. Keep reading as we delve into these points.
How Do You Clean Oak Doors Before Oiling?
Before getting into the process of oiling a door, you will have to clean it first. A clean oak door is more likely to produce smooth results than a dirty one. It also allows the door to appear like new.
Follow these steps in cleaning an oak door:
- Prepare the materials needed, including clean cloth (preferably soft ones), a sponge, a paintbrush, clean water, latex or rubber gloves, and liquid detergent.
- Wipe down the oak door with a clean cloth to remove any dust and light stains on the surface. When wiping, follow the direction of the wood's natural grain and make sure the cloth is clean and dry.
- Put on the gloves, then dip the clean cloth in water. Be sure to wring it well to remove excess moisture.
- Wipe down the door with the damp cloth, following the same direction as earlier. Doing this removes stains that won't come off with the dry cloth.
- For stubborn stains, add a drop or two of liquid detergent into warm water. Dip a sponge into the water, making sure to wring it out.
- Continue wiping it down with the damp sponge. Be sure not to put too much detergent, as it could damage the door.
- Use the paintbrush to clean around the door's trim, handle, and other hard-to-reach places of the door.
- Take a clean, dry cloth to wipe away the remaining moisture. Do not leave water or moisture on the door for too long to avoid damage.
How Do You Wax Oak Doors?
Waxing, like oiling an oak door, follows a few steps that you can complete in a day or two, depending on how long you will need to leave the door to dry. The video below details how the process works using Danish oil. Working with an unhung oak door makes it easier to access the surface.
If you need a guide when hanging your door up, check out our post: How Long Does It Take To Hang An Oak Door?
To get you started, here is an overview of the steps to take in either oiling or waxing an oak door:
- Do the work in a well-ventilated area. If you are indoors, open all the windows and doors nearby. Protect surfaces that could get stained during the process, such as the floor, walls, and the door's hardware.
- Clean the surface of the oak door with the use of a clean cloth. It will be used dry to get rid of dust and wet to remove stains.
- The materials you will need to finish the door are the following: a brush, dry cloth, finishing pad, and your chosen wax or oil.
- Prep the wax or oil by placing a portion in a dish for easier access. When using oil, make sure it is well stirred. If your door is unhung, you can drop the oil or wax directly onto the door. Be careful not to put too much.
- With your brush, spread the wax or oil following the direction of the grain with long, even strokes. You can also do this with a clean, soft cloth.
- After coating, take a paper towel or clean, dry cloth to wipe off any excess oil.
- Once dry, denib the door with a finishing pad, being careful not to apply too much pressure. Be sure to follow the grain when doing this.
- When applying more coats, use a rag or cloth instead of a brush to prevent damages. Wipe off the excess oil and denib the surface each time you apply a new coat.
- Repeat these steps with the other side of the door.
What Is The Best Oil For Oak Doors?
One of the most common oil choices for oak doors is Tung oil because it is flexible to use among various types of wood. In choosing which oil to use, note that each kind comes with distinct features. And so, their results may differ depending on the type of wood used with it.
Oak doors are commonly indoor since they are prone to splitting and cracking when used as exterior doors. The following are popular options to use in treating oak doors:
Tung oil, aka China wood oil, is well known as the best wood oil with a natural finish. It is a drying oil variant, meaning it dries when exposed to air. Tung oil is capable of drying and penetrating thoroughly without leaving any undesirable residue.
The clear, plastic-like coating can move when wooden surfaces expand or contract from different outside conditions. Applying the oil uses a method called "wet-on-wet burnishing," wherein you are required to sand down the wood to a certain degree before coating it with the oil.
Like tung oil, Danish oil seeps into the wood to give it a rich appearance by enhancing oak wood's color. But it also provides surface protection, unlike other oil finishes. This type of oil contains three components:
These add to the protection and application, as well as helping the finish soak into the wood. Danish oil is easy to maintain and repair through recoating.
Hard Wax Oil
An option that gives your door further protection is hard wax oil. This type of oil works well with flooring but effectively provides the same level of security for doors. While it tends to darken the color of wood, there are clear options available for giving lighter wood species a richer tone.
As opposed to other oils, hard wax oil is best at protecting wood from liquid or spillages. It can be mixed with colored oils and doesn't leave residue or marks after application on wood.
How Often Should You Oil Oak Doors?
An oak door should be treated once every three years while cleaning them should be done monthly or weekly. If the door appears worn out before the three-year time frame, you can consider giving it treatment sooner.
On top of treating a door, regular cleaning increases its lifespan and prevents extreme wear and tear. It will require you less work during the treatment when an oak door is frequently cleaned. It also maintains the condition of an oak door, keeping it good as new for lengthier periods.
What Finish Is Best For Oak Doors?
Favored finishes for oak doors are satin and gloss, especially internal doors. These are washable, so stains can be easily removed when needed.
A satin finish appears silky and reflects light to make a room look brighter. Gloss finishes offer high resistance against moisture, while high gloss options are commonly the most durable choice. Clear or natural variants work best on oak doors because the wood comes in a lighter color.
Sealing an oak door with the appropriate finish will keep it from damage and warping. You can read more about this topic here: Do Oak Doors Warp? [And Tips On How To Prevent Warping]
Finishing an oak door is vital in keeping it healthy. The treatment requires you to follow a few simple steps. It usually starts with cleaning the door, then preparing it for the oiling or waxing process.
There are various oils and finishes available, ranging from wood oils for protection to color enhancement. Finding the best oil for the wood improves the quality and overall condition of an oak door, which helps in strengthening it for extended use.